I think that James Tabor has the correct idea of the earliest Christians considered to be meaning of resurrection and the type of the resurrection they thought Jesus had. He describes it at https://jamestabor.com/why-people-are-confused-about-the-earliest-christian-view-of-resurrection-of-the-dead/ .
He says that the Jews original concept of resurrection was that the fleshly body of the dead would be reconstituted and recombined with the spirit/soul (which was in Sheol and existed as a shade while the fleshly body was dead). He further says that at the time of Jesus Christ however, the Jewish view and the view of the early Christians was not that view. Instead it was the view that an incorruptible spirit body would be created by God and combined with the spirit/soul of the person who had died. Except for the idea of the persistence of the spirit/soul it seems to me to be essentially identical to the view of the WT and the JW governing body regarding their teaching of the resurrection/recreation of the anointed ones. James Tabor says the following.
'Matthew says that at the death of Jesus many of the dead came out of
their graves and walked about in the city (Matthew 27: 52). Peter raises
a widow and Paul revives a young man who fell from a window (Acts
What is important to note about all these stories of “resurrection” is that these people returned
from death to live again, but they then they subsequently died again.
This notion of a temporary return from death, basically a revival of a
corpse, is not the view of resurrection of the dead that Jews in the
time of Jesus believed and that followers of Jesus were affirming about
The Hebrew Bible says very little about resurrection of the
dead in this more extended sense. The single unambiguous passage is from
Daniel, but it is a key to understanding the concept at its core ....
The metaphor of “sleeping in the dust of the earth” and then awakening
captures precisely the core idea of resurrection of the dead. The bodies
of the dead have long ago decayed and turned to dust, so this is no
resuscitation of a corpse, nor is it even Ezekiel’s vision of reclothing
dry bones with sinew and skin. This is an entirely new concept that has
begun to develop in Jewish thought and Jews like Jesus, as well as the
Pharisees, believed that on the “last day,” the dead would be raised.
What people mix up is the literal idea of resuscitation or the
“standing up” of a corpse, and the fully developed Jewish idea of
resurrection at the end of days. The latter does not involve collecting
the dust, the fragmentary decaying bones, or other remains of the body
and somehow restoring their form. According to the book of Revelation,
even the “sea” gives up the dead that are in it—which can hardly mean
one must search for digested bodies that the fish have eaten and
eliminated—as unpleasant as the thought may be (Revelation 20:11-15).
Corpse revival is not resurrection of the dead–at least in its classic sense of what happens to all humankind in the end of days.
... The fully developed view of resurrection of the dead among Jews in the time of Jesus was that at the end of days the dead would come forth from Sheol/Hades—literally the “state of being dead,” and live again in an embodied
form. The question was—what kind of a body? And it was there that the
debates began. The Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, poked fun at
the Pharisees, who affirmed it. How could God raise the dead—what if a
woman had had seven husbands in her life, each of whom died and she kept
remarrying—in the resurrection whose wife would she be? Jesus was
confronted with this question in the gospels (Luke 20:34-40). His answer
was clear and unambiguous—when the dead come forth they will be in a
transformed body, much like the angels, not the literal physical bodies
that they once inhabited—there will be no “marriage or giving in
marriage” as there will be no “male or female” in terms of physical
sexual gender. There will be no birth, no death, but a new transformed
Paul is the crystal clear on this point. Some of his
converts in the city of Corinth were denying the resurrection of the
dead. They were most likely thinking along the lines of Plato—if the
immortal soul is freed from the prison of the body at death, why would
it ever return to the body? And yet that is precisely what Paul
defended—a return to a body—but as he makes very clear, it is not a natural or “physical body”—the one he calls the body of “dust,” but a spiritual body—literally “wind body,” (pneumatikos), that is transformed and not subject to death (1 Corinthians 15:42-50).
Resurrection of the dead, according to both Paul and Jesus, has nothing to do with the former physical body.
... This has everything to do with the earliest Christian view of Jesus’
resurrection, the resurrection hope his followers had, and our Talpiot
tombs. That is why the presence of bones—even the bones of Jesus,
next to statements of faith in resurrection, were not a contradiction.
The confusion has come over the accounts in the gospels of the empty
tomb of Jesus, and his “appearances” to his followers following his
resurrection–all of which were written after 70 CE when the links with
the faith of the Jerusalem community had been severed.
The evidence we have found in the Talpiot tombs is primary evidence of what the first Christians believed about resurrection faith. It is not theology, but it is firm archaeological
testimony that allows us for the first time to reconstruct the full
picture. The tomb evidence agrees completely with the teachings of both
Jesus and Paul about the new spiritual body. The confusion has come in the gospels because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the empty tomb. There was an empty tomb—but it was the first tomb, the temporary
one in which Joseph of Arimathea placed the corpse of Jesus until the
Passover and Sabbath were past. The Talpiot Jesus tomb was not empty—the
“Jesus son of Joseph” ossuary held his bones, and as we will see, we
have been able to even do DNA tests on those remains. This is no threat
to the original Christian resurrection faith, it is actually an
affirmation of that faith. Paul knows nothing of that first empty tomb.
He knows that Jesus died and was buried and on the third day he was raised up.
He then appeared to his followers, not as a resuscitated corpse, but in
Paul’s words, as a “life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). These
words of Paul are our earliest testimony to faith in Jesus’
resurrection—until now. We now have testimony by his original followers
that predates Paul, and predates the gospels by many
decades. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John were written between 70-100 CE.
The names on the books are traditional. They are not included in the
text but added later as “titles” to the manuscripts. In other words,
Mark does not begin, “I Mark, having witnessed these things, do hereby
write…” Nor does Matthew, Luke, or John. In that sense all four gospels
are pseudonymous—we don’t know their real authors.
... What Luke and John introduce here, namely that Jesus appeared in the same body
that had been placed in the tomb represents a major departure from
early Christian resurrection faith. This understanding of Jesus’
resurrection has led to endless confusion on the part of sincere
Christians who do believe Jesus was raised from the dead. These stories
are secondary and legendary. We know this because Mark, who wrote
decades earlier, does not know them, and Paul, who is still earlier says
plainly that the new body is not “flesh and blood” (1 Corinthians
The explanation provided by James Tabor is excellent and makes a great deal of sense. It explains why a number of biblical passages are worded the way they are, including the contradictions between some of them. It explains what Jesus meant by the resurrection and why the resurrected ones do not marry. It also is fully compatible with atheistic naturalist views and enables an excellent atheistic naturalist explanation of what happened to the dead fleshly body of Jesus, of why the earliest Christians believed that Jesus was raised from the dead if his fleshly body hadn't really been raised bodily from the grave, and how Christianity could have spread (allegedly rapidly) after the death of Jesus if the fleshly body of Jesus did not come back to life. WOW!
I read Tabor's article months ago, but I don't think I grasped the full significance till now. Now I can provided a comprehensive complete scientific naturalist explanation of what happened in regards earlier Christian views about their idea of the resurrection and of what really happened to Christ. All of the 'puzzle pieces' available to me about the matter now can be fitted perfectly together by me. Yea!